Just a quickie today, but still on the theme of “Cadre changes” in the wake of the Russian invasion. Or, in this case, a non-change of cadre!
So I have this piece by reporter Evgeny Romanov. A rather inauspicious name (given the fate of the Romanov dynasty), but just wait till you hear the name of the other guy: Vladimir Bandura. (Sounds like Bandera, but it’s slightly different.)
So, here is the scoop: Bandura was, and still is, the Mayor of the Donetsk city of Svyatogorsk. The name means “Holy Mountain” in Russian, because the city is on the high ground, and contains several Orthodox churches, cathedrals, plus a huge monastery complex. Svyatogorsk was under Ukrainian control until, oh, about a week ago. Then the Russian/DPR army took it in battle and are currently using as a staging ground for the main target: The Slavyansk/Kramatorsk agglomeration. This map shows the relative positions of Svyatogorsk (Ukrainian Svitohirsk, top arrow) to the North of Slavyansk (Ukrainian Slovyansk), with Severodonetsk also marked off to the East, just to show the relative locations of these important battlegrounds. Russian troops are currently moving South from Svyatogorsk and figuring out the best way to take Slavyansk away from the Ukrainians. Svyatogorsk was the place where Ukrainian soldiers got themselves kettled in again, hid in a wooden church, burned it down, disobeyed their commanders orders to fight to the death, abandoned their equipment, and escaped from the Russians by swimming to safety across the river. The Russian soldiers watched them swim away and didn’t shoot them, which I think was a very nice thing to do. It’s not sporting to shoot guys who already threw their guns away.
Anyhow, once they were in control of Svyatogorsk, one would think that the Russians would arrest the local Mayor. But wait! On June 13 (which was yesterday), DPR leader Denis Pushilin reappointed Bandura back to his old post. And then an important plot twist: Pushilin revealed that he and Bandura had been secretly in touch all along: “The residents of Svyatogorsk have been experiencing the full terroristic behavior of the Ukrainian fighters. I knew about all of this from the Mayor, Vladimir Bandura. He and I have been in touch for a long time. He, like many others residents of Svyatogorsk, has just been waiting for the liberation. He supports the Special Operation. In this very difficult time Vladimir Vladimirovich did not abandon his post, he is respected and supported by the residents, therefore I asked him to stay at his post of Mayor.”
Pushilin also noted that Bandura was forced to hide his opinions, in order to protect his constituents.
Bandura accepted Pushilin’s invitation to stay on, and promised to help rebuild Svyatogorsk.